Author of Ocean Heart
Today we meet British fantasy author Ally Aldridge, who released her debut novel Ocean Heart in December 2020.
Helen: Welcome Ally. Congratulations on the release of your first novel Ocean Heart. Why don’t you start by telling us a little about it.
Ally: Ocean Heart is my debut novel. It’s a YA Fantasy novel about a teen discovering she’s a mermaid with uncontrollable powers, set in my hometown.
Ocean Heart is book one in the Soul Heart series. I’ve drafted Sky Heart, book two, and working on a prequel to the The Soul Heart series.
The Soul Heart Series will feature a different shifter type in each book enabling readers to discover them all.
Helen: I love that you’ve based your books in Suffolk where you live. It adds a local element which readers love. How did you come up with the cover design?
Ally: As Ocean Heart is set in the modern world I wanted the cover to have a magic feel but not be mistaken for high fantasy. Mariah doesn’t fully shift until way into the story so I didn’t want her to be depicted as a mermaid.
I wanted it to be clear the MC’s a young girl. The red dress underwater is from a very important kissing scene in the book.
I gave all my ideas to my designers, and she asked me a ton of questions to make sure she knew what my book is about and things I like. I have a thing for silhouettes so she incorporated into the design.
The end design blew me away. I was in love with it, and it was everything I dreamed of and more.
Helen: Covers are so special, and the process of clarifing what you want the cover to depict is so important. Like you, every time I’m blown away with what my designer comes up with. There are so many elements to writing a book, what made you first start writing?
Ally: I started writing at a young age. I fell in love with the characters in the book and didn’t want their stories to end. So, I wrote them more adventures. And, more adventures. Then, I made my own characters, worlds, and never stopped.
Helen: That is so wonderful. Books are so inspiring and when you find characters you love, you never want the stories to end. What is your favourite book?
Ally: I really love the werecat shifter series by Rachel Vincent. It was the first low fantasy series I read and it sucked me in. I loved having fantasy in the real world. It inspired my Soul Heart series.
Helen: I have a feeling I know the answer to this question! But which do you prefer? Writing or editing?
Ally: I prefer writing, and wish I had more time to invest in it. I usually write in the evening once my kids are asleep. This isn’t ideal, as sometimes I need this time to do other things, or I’m too tired at all.
I loathe editing. I go over & over my writing, picking holes, second guessing myself. My editor is worth her weight in gold. She gets what I want to achieve, calls me out on mistakes in a way that makes me laugh, and helps me pull my words together.
Helen: It is difficult to write after a full and busy day. I try and slip in 30 minutes at lunch or before work, doesn’t always work though! When you write are you a pantser or a planner? Do you know what you intend to write?
Ally: I try hard to be planner because I hate the mess at the end, but I never manage much more than a brief outline. I then discover the characters and details as a write.
I sometimes have to stop writing to research. For example, when my character visited a city hospital I needed to use Google Maps to explore the location. I also needed to look up oil lamps, and other random things. Even researched things that have probably put me on a watch list.
Helen: Ah, yes. What we writers have to research can be quite an interesting list. Talking about lists, I have ideas bubbling for new stories all the time. What about you? How do you come up with ideas for your books?
Ally: I get inspired all the time. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by a phrase, or another story. Songs and art inspires me too. I’m always thinking “What if?” And noting down ideas for future stories in my plot bunny vault.
Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today, but before you leave, Ally, I’m sure your readers want to know. What’s next? Is there a new book on the horizon from Ally Adridge?
Ally: Yes, book two is called Sky Heart. It follows Kiely getting over a breakup. She makes some bad choices, gets attacked by a werewolf, joins the reapers, and learns to forgive and move on. It’s darker than Ocean Heart but still YA. Sky Heart is fully written, and just finished the first round on Betas. It needs a few professional edits before it is released into the world but it will be releasing in 2022.
I am also currently working on New Moon, which is a prequel to The Soul Heart Series. This book follows one of the mums in the series, but throws back to her teens in the late 90s to early 00s. It will have some magic and romance, which is a common theme in my stories.
About the Author:
Ally was born in London, but grew up in Suffolk which is where most of her YA Fantasy novels are based.
She is happily married to her high school sweetheart, and together they are raising two cats, their son and daughter.
When Ally is not writing (or at her day job), she loves spending time with her family at the local beach, in the forest or watching way too much Netflix.
Ally loves a cup of tea and has been known to order one on a night out.
You can find more about Ally via:
You can purchase Ally’s books from Amazon:
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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook, paperback or hardcover: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Book Three: Sentinals Justice. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next book releases.
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